A Cultural and Stylistic History
Jocelyn R. Neal
Table of Contents
Introduction: Heading into the Country
Country as Genre
Definition of Country
Is It Real? Issues of Authenticity in Country Music
Goals and Themes
The "Otherness" of Country
Situating a Performer
How to Listen
Part I: The Early Years (1920s and 1930s)
Chapter 1: The Birth of Country Music
Listening Guide: "O Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie"
New Technologies: Records and Radio
Artist Profile: Fiddlin' John Carson
The Business of Music
Artist Profile: DeFord Bailey
Listening Guide: "Hallelujah Side"
Listening Guide: "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane"
Essay (Culture): Radio Barn Dances
Essay (Identity): Women in Early Country Music
Essay (Musical Style): Hillbilly Entertainers
Listen Side-By-Side: "Sourwood Mountain"
Chapter 2: National Stars on the Horizon
Role of the Producer
The Big Bang
Artist Profile: The Carter Family and Their Legacy
Listening Guide: "Can the Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye)"
Artist Profile: Jimmie Rodgers
Listening Guide: "Blue Yodel No. 9"
The Long-Term Star
Listening Guide: "The Great Speckled Bird"
Country Music on the National Stage
Essay (Music Business): Copyright
Essay (Technology): Making Records in the 1920s
Essay (Identity): Race in Early Country Music
Essay (Culture): Cover Songs
Listen Side-By-Side: "Blue Yodel"
Chapter 3: New Traditions, Cowboys, and Jazz
Barn Dance Radio Shows, Stars, and the Brother Acts
Artist Profile: Bob Wills
Listening Guide: "New San Antonio Rose"
Listening Guide: "Back in the Saddle Again"
Artist Profile: Sons of the Pioneers
Listening Guide: "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart"
Taking Stock on the Brink of World War II
Essay (Musical Style): Innovation in Western Swing
Essay (Musical Style): Singing Cowboys
Essay (Musical Style): Brother Acts
Essay (Music Business): Sponsorship
Listen Side-By-Side: "Wabash Blues"
Part II: World War II and After: Nationalism and Country Music (1940s and 1950s)
Chapter 4: Honky-Tonk and Rockabilly Revolution
New Radio Stars
Country Music Culture in the Postwar Years
The Louisiana Hayride
Artist Profile: Hank Williams
Listening Guide: "Your Cheatin' Heart"
The Honky-Tonk Image
Listening Guide: "(Pay Me) Alimony"
A Broader Soundscape
The Impact of Honky-Tonk
A New Era
Setting the Stage: The Emergence of Rock 'n' Roll
Memphis Rockabilly and Sun Records
Elvis Presley Makes a Record
Rockabilly as Part of Country Music
Artist Profile: Johnny Cash
Listening Guide: "Folsom Prison Blues"
Rock 'n' Roll and Country Connections beyond Sun
Coming to an End
Essay (Musical Style): Honky-Tonk
Essay (Culture): Cajun Country
Essay (Music Business): Forces behind the Scenes
Essay (Musical Style): Rockabilly
Listen Side-By-Side: "In the Jailhouse Now"
Chapter 5: The Birth of Bluegrass
The Origins of Bluegrass
Artist Profile: Bill Monroe
Listening Guide: "Blue Moon of Kentucky"
Artist Profile: Earl Scruggs
Listening Guide: "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
Bluegrass Meets Folk
From Bluegrass and Folk to Commercial Country
Listening Guide: "Rocky Top"
Bluegrass as Symbol and Soundtrack
The Relationship between Bluegrass and Country
Essay (Musical Style): Bluegrass
Essay (Identity): Women in Bluegrass
Essay (Culture): Bluegrass Festivals
Listen Side-By-Side: "Blue Moon of Kentucky"
Listen Side-By-Side: "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)"
Chapter 6: The Nashville Sound and Musical Innovation
The Business behind the Nashville Sound
Artist Profile: Chet Atkins
The Musical Scene for the Nashville Sound
Country Teen Crooners
Conceiving the Nashville Sound
Artist Profile: Patsy Cline
Listening Guide: "Faded Love"
Listening Guide: "He'll Have to Go"
Listening Guide: "El Paso"
The Second Wave of Nashville Sound Artists
Making Sense of the Nashville Sound
Essay (Music Business): The Country Music Association
Essay (Musical Style): The Nashville Sound
Essay (Songwriting): A Professional Writer's Town
Listen Side-By-Side: "Take Me In Your Arms and Hold Me"
Part III: Coast to Coast: Outsiders, Outlaws, and Tradition (1960s and 1970s)
Chapter 7: California Country and Country Rock
Out in Bakersfield
Listening Guide: "Mama Tried"
Artist Profile: Merle Haggard
Artist Profile: Buck Owens
Listening Guide: "Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache)"
Bluegrass Meets Folk-Rock
Country Rock Branches Out
Listening Guide: "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"
Essay (Musical Style): Bakersfield Sound
Essay (History): "Okie from Muskogee" and Country Music Politics
Essay (Culture): The Byrds on the Opry
Listen Side-By-Side: "I've Just Seen a Face"
Chapter 8: Classic Country
Classic Country's Female Stars
Listening Guide: "Coal Miner's Daughter"
Artist Profile: Dolly Parton
Classic Country's Male Stars
Artist Profile: George Jones
Listening Guide: "He Stopped Loving Her Today"
Listening Guide: "You've Never Been this Far Before"
The Duets and Ensembles
TV and Country Music
Looking Back on Classic Country
Essay (Songwriting): Truckin' Songs and the Open Road
Essay (Musical Style): Classic Country
Essay (Identity): Gender in Classic Country
Essay (Songwriting): Story Songs
Essay (Culture): The Opry Moves
Listen Side-By-Side: "Muleskinner Blues"
Chapter 9: Outlaw Country and Southern Rock Rebellion
The Emergence of Outlaw Country
Artist Profile: Willie Nelson
Outlaw Country Runs Its Course
Listening Guide: "Luckenback, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)"
Southern Rock and the Country Audience
Listening Guide: "Sweet Home Alabama"
Listening Guide: "The South's Gonna Do It"
Artist Profile: Charlie Daniels
Essay (Musical Style): Outlaw Country
Essay (Musical Style): Southern Rock
Essay (Music Business): Behaving Like Outlaws
Essay (Culture): Long-Haired Rednecks, Hippies, and Cosmic Cowboys
Listen Side-By-Side: "Can I Sleep in Your Arms"
Listen Side-By-Side: Red Headed Stranger
Part IV: Expansion: Country Makes It Big-Time (1980s and 1990s)
Chapter 10: Urban Cowboys, Countrypolitan, and the Regan Era
History and Rise of Crossover Country
Pop Culture, the Cowboy, and the Country Boy
Politics, Economics, and the Appeal of the Urban Cowboy
New Media and Breaking Down Genre Borders
Listening Guide: "Islands in the Stream"
Listening Guide: "I Was Country (When Country Wasn't Cool)"
The Stars and Songs of Urban Cowboy
Artist Profile: Ronnie Milsap
Artist Profile: Barbara Mandrell
Listening Guide: "Love in the First Degree"
The End of Urban Cowboy
Essay (Musical Style): Countrypolitan
Essay (Culture): Country Music on the Silver Screen
Essay (Music Business): International Country
Listen Side-By-Side: Country/Pop Comparisons
Chapter 11: Neotraditionalists and Remaking the Past
Listening Guide: "All My Ex's Live in Texas"
Artist Profile: George Strait
Listening Guide: "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)"
Neotraditionalism Takes Root
Artist Profile: Reba McEntire
Listening Guide: "How Blue"
Co-opted, Conservative, and Commercial
Essay (Musical Style): Neotraditionalist Recordings
Essay (Culture): Branson, Missouri, and Country Music Tourism
Essay (Songwriting): Cover Songs Revisited
Listen Side-By-Side: "Deep Water"
Chapter 12: The Commercial Country Explosion
The Class of 1989 and "New Country"
Artist Profile: Garth Brooks
Listening Guide: "Friends in Low Places"
Themes in New Country
Listening Guide: "Gone Country"
Stylistic Pendulums and Country Pop
Artist Profile: "Shania Twain"
Listening Guide: "Any Man of Mine"
The End of the 1990s
Essay (Musical Style): New Country and Country Pop
Essay (Culture): Line Dancing
Essay (Songwriting): Songwriting and Sophistication
Essay (History): Southernization and Soccer moms
Listen Side-By-Side: Cowboy Songs
Part V: Country Music Navigates Genre (1990s and 2000s)
Chapter 13: Alternative Country and Beyond
Defining Alternative Country
Alternative Country Origins
Listening Guide: "No Depression"
Artist Profile: Ryan Adams
Alternative Country Coalesces
A Broader Definition: Alternative Country as Musical Space
Listening Guide: "Suppose Tonight Would Be Our Last"
Another Alternative: Bluegrass
The Impact on Mainstream Country
Artist Profile: Alison Krauss
Changes in Commercial Country
"Murder on Music Row:" The Turning Tide
Essay (Musical Style): What Alt-Country Doesn't Sound Like
Essay (Technology): The Internet Age
Essay (Culture): The O Brother Phenomenon
Listening Guide: "Man of Constant Sorrow"
Essay (Culture): Gay Line Dancing
Listen Side-By-Side: "Waltz Across Texas"
Chapter 14: Redefining Country in a New Millennium
Country Music in the Spotlight
Artist Profile: Brad Paisley
Listening Guide: "Whiskey Lullaby"
Return of Roots and Rednecks
Listening Guide: "RedneckWoman"
Listening Guide: "Long Time Gone"
Americana and Alternative?
Pop Culture Lays Claim to Country Music
Artist Profile: Carrie Underwood
Reflecting and Projecting Meaning
Essay (Culture): Dixie Chicks and Politics
Essay (Identity): Race in Contemporary Country
Essay (Technology): MP3s Please
Listen Side-By-Side: A Woman's Voice
Chapter 15: Breaking Borders
The Past Is Alive and Well
Nashville On Screen
Artist Profile: Blake Shelton
The Rise of Bro-Country
Listening Guide: "Cruise"
Listening Guide: "Girl Crush"
Artist Profile: Miranda Lambert
Listening Guide: "Tin Man"
Crossover and Hip-Hop-ification
Dark Horse Surprises
Through the Lenses
Essay (Identity): Tomato-Gate and the Women of Country
Essay (Musical Style): The Splintering of Country
Essay (Identity): Who Listens to Country?
Listen Side-By Side: "Tennessee Whiskey"
Appendix A: Song Form
Appendix B: Country Instruments
Appendix C: Glossary
Appendix D: Timeline